Thursday, March 7, 2013

Remembering Through Flavors....

I was never a reader in college. EVER. Academic reading was about all I could handle not to mention the times people usually read is at night right before bed. Being a college student, there wasn't very much "reading time/down time" before bed, usually just a lot of crazy shenanigans like making peanut butter fruit dip at 10 at night, pushing mattresses together, having kitchen dance parties, Frozen Yogurt at 10:00 p.m. or other seemingly rather important activities to do be done. Reading? yeah no. There WAS one exception though, Shauana. Shauna Niequist is an  author I fell in love with in college. I am sure every girl says this, but it literally feels like Shauna speaks to every circumstance and emotion I go through and when I read her books I forget that I'm not actually having coffee with her, but really I'm just on my couch in my living room. She is THE BEST. She's completley authentic, hilarious, deep, unassuming, direct, engaging and so much more. Her writing is chalked full of life lessons, learning experiences, memories and her deepest darkest ugliest parts that most people are too scared to even acknowledge exist in them. I love her and her writing and if I had to choose between meeting my favorite celeb or Shuana, it would  absolutely be Shuana every time. Erin and I used to only allow ourselves once chapter of "Shauna" a day. Sometimes when we couldn't help ourselves we accidentally read two. We read her chapters out loud to each other. Cried just about every chapter and often read special chapters for special occasions. Occasions like Gaby's wedding day. We all sat in the bathroom, Gaby's hair in curlers and bridesmaids scattered painting nails and pinning curls and stopped to read "A Blessing For a Bride" from Shuana's 2nd book "Bittersweet." Its all about how wonderful getting married is, but the true richness and love that grows for your husband and for being a wife as time goes on. It speaks to the funny chaos of wedding planning and shares encouragement about how the best is yet to come.

Since I follow Shauna like a stalker I found out via her blog that bloggers like myself could have the opportunity to read her 3rd book "Bread & Wine" pre-release. It releases April 1st. The idea is that bloggers will share our thoughts and excitement about "Bread & Wine" with our community and oh my goodness was I all over that. "Bread & Wine" resonates with my heart on a deeper level than any of her other books because its all about food and the table and hosting and life and the spiritual implications of these things and how they feed our souls. Go ahead and just pre-order Bread & Wine on Amazon. Its incredible. You should also just pre-game with her other two books "Cold Tangerines" and "Bittersweet." Buy her up people!!! I am so excited to share my thoughts on "Bread & Wine", but I also am excited to share my own stories and what I learned and concluded about myself and my world while reading it. This might be a series of posts. This is your official warning.

"Remembering Through Flavors": Shauna says she "remembers through flavors." This is so the way I function. One of my favorite things about the 'core four' is that all of us love to cook/ eat out/ do happy hours/ host parities/ eat clean/ and gather around the table together. Its what we do. We don't spend money on movie tickets or concerts very much we just love to gather for food, make food, eat food. Shauna has a cooking club that meet once a month. The host picks a theme and every one else fills around the edges with appetizers, desserts, and side dishes. She talks about the functionality of the cooking club. Upon arrival its pure chaos greeting one another, shrugging coats, handling dishes, lifting babies out of car seats, bringing in bags of borrowed clothes and assembling dishes. This scene is virtually the same with the core minus the babies part. We freely rummage through cupboards and pour ourselves some wine as we catch up and put the meal together and when we all sit its "dial in time." encouargment, tears, joy, freak outs, fights, and so much more have happened around our table. Shauna says "the table is the life raft, the center point, the home base of who we are together." This is true of us. We go deep around the table, we talk about really hard things, we laugh till we cry, we pray together, we share in each others burdens and sorrows as much as we share in each others praises and mountain top seasons. I love this about us. The best memories with these core have been the ones around the table. I remember through flavors....

Creamy risotto with cherry tomatoes and cabbage makes me think of my "Root Down" patio date with Lauren... and the new last name Zeman. She had just gotten back from her honeymoon in Jamaica and she was a bronzed babe and all smiles. We met at Wash Park for a run and spent the rest of the evening talking honeymoon highlights on the patio of one of my favorite spots. We shared the risotto and a minty mojito and also had a plate of sweet potato fries with a curry lime dipping sauce. We didn't say no to dessert and ordered a gooey and perfect flour less chocolate cake. Risotto, fries, mojito, and cake were the flavors that marked my memory with Lauren. (And an $8 glass water bottle we got suckered into.)

Thick and dark mugs of coffee in Starbucks State mugs will always make me think of Gaby house for breakfast. My memories with Gaby can be marked by "Braverman Cups" (the perfect cup of coffee every time without fail) with hard boiled egg on crusty Udi's gluten free toast with a sprinkle of truffle salt on top. We always sit in the back yard and its always for hours, but one particular day was different. It was her wedding day. I woke up next to the bride that morning excited for my last cup of "Braverman coffee" with my soon to be "Lobdell bride babe." All the bridesmaids sat cozily in their pj's in the back yard taking the morning slow before the sure hustle of the wedding day. We had coffee and Hawaiian pineapple pancakes with eggs and fresh juice. Blankets covered the back yard with family and friends gathered to eat and share time together on such a significant day. There was no hurry in the yard that day. I escaped for a bit to work on my MOH speech only to return to the same backyard scene I left. I won't forget the flavors that marked that wedding morning and the memories with Gaby on that day.

Erin and I spontaneously booked a flight to Malibu to run in the Malibu International Half Marathon at probably the most crucial "friend need" times of my life during one of the hardest seasons of my life. I had moved away to Kansas and was in shambles in all sorts of ways. Breakfast is both Erin and my most favorite meal to eat out so we decided morning of vacation day 1 we would find a cool spot before we ventured to Malibu for packet pick up. Blue Plate hit the spot for us. We sat outside in the most perfectly sunny weather ordered coffee and beet juice and did that thing we do best. Chatted about the rough patch of life that we were both in, wondering how we would make it and how we would make it living in different spots. We made our own omlets with peppers, onions, spinach, tomato, goat cheese and avocado and crunched into toasty bread with a little side of fresh fruit and those were the flavors that marked my memory on the mini Malibu vacation with Erin.

I'm sure the core four and I have shared many wonderful memories that go beyond food, but when I think about the best memories with them its only the memories that include food that stick out so well to me. Like one time in college right before the girls graduated. We pulled two mattresses upstairs pushed them together in the living room and ate crackled french bread with warm brie cheese and juicy green grapes with a large bottle of wine. We ate and assembled Laurens wedding invitations and talked about what the future would hold for our "adult life" friendship and the sweetness of our college friendship.

I seriously could not be more thankful. Thankful for the Lords provision in both food and relationships as I remember so many memories through flavors.

~ Mekenzie

1 comment:

  1. I will put this on my list of reads! Thanks love!xx